BRAVING bitterly cold dawn weather during the depths of winter will have its reward for Warrnambool runner Steve Harris.
Harris will attempt his 12th Melbourne Marathon when he takes part in the 42.2-kilometre trek from Melbourne’s city centre to St Kilda and back tomorrow.
The event is the culmination of a heavy winter training regime, which has the 42-year-old rising before 6am four times a week for training runs.
Harris reached “Spartan” status after completing his 10th Melbourne Marathon, but said he had no intention of stepping away from the sport.
“After 15 years you get a different coloured singlet, and green isn’t my colour so I keep going,” he said.
“I run with a group of runners and that’s the main reason I keep doing them.
“We’ve got anywhere between eight and 10 guys who meet four days a week at 6am.
“Usually every year there are a couple out of the pack that are running the marathon.
“That’s the reason I do it. It’s social as well as therapeutic and for stress relief and fitness.”
Of the early morning crew, Harris will join Travis Thornton, Troy Shields and Aaron Irvine in Melbourne tomorrow.
The collective goal of reaching another running milestone helped the group rise for training when a few extra hours of sleep seemed tempting.
“Traditionally we run long ones on Saturday mornings — when we’re running above 30km we start at 5am,” Harris said.
“But the beauty of it is it’s out of the way for the weekend.”
More than 4000 people are expected to start the Melbourne Marathon, while more than 8000 will run the 21.1km half-marathon.